Some pensioners in Osun State on Saturday refused to participate in the 25th Anniversary celebration of the state and instead took to the street in protest, calling for the payment of gratuities to retirees of 2011-2012 and an end to half payment of pensions to the retirees in the state.
The pensioners, under the forum of retirees of 2011/2012, recounted their grievances while addressing reporters in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State.
They also claimed that the celebration of the ‘State @25’ by the State government was unwarranted, considering the current economic situation.
To the pensioners, what is required of the Governor and the people of the state at this period of The Silver Jubilee is a sober reflection and not celebration.
Chairman of the Forum, Mr Omoniyi Ilesanmi, who berated the Governor of the State, Rauf Aregbesola, for not fulfilling his statutory obligation towards the pensioners, claimed that many lives had been lost in the struggle while others were already bedridden.
He alleged that the bailout fund given to the state by the Federal Government was diverted by the Governor.
They further implored the Governor to pay their outstanding pensions and gratuities without further delay to end their sufferings.
He said: “The fact on ground was that Osun State government, under the command of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, was owing the pensioners outstanding gratuities of about seven years between 2009 and 2012 and accumulated monthly pension of eight and half months”.
“As a result of the insensitivity of ‘dictator Aregbesola’, over 1,143 have died avoidable deaths. No fewer than 500 pensioners are bedridden in hospitals and their various homes.
“These are only from the forum of 2011/2012 retirees”.
Mr Ilesanmi further said “Governor Aregbesola has purchased uniforms for his paid agents, the so called Triangular Pensioners to launder his image by presenting him through a Kangaroo solidarity demonstration on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the creation of the state coming up today and the presidential visit to Osun State on the September 1.
“The group has been given two types of Aso-ebi (uniform) to celebrate with him to deceive the world that all is well in the state, it is not so.
“Help us appeal to him to pay us our gratuities as we are doing.
“We need to reflect on this 25th Anniversary. What development can we see in Osun, instead of spending money in jubilation, let’s pay up workers and pensioners”.
While demonstrations were ongoing, Channels Television tried to reach the the Osun State Head of Service, Olayinka Owoeye, but calls put to him did not go through.